Tag Archives: Healthcare

The Financial Incentive for Health Information Exchanges

By Jim Hietala, VP, Security, The Open Group

Health IT professionals have always known that interoperability would be one of the most important aspects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Now doctors have financial incentive to be proactive in taking part in the process of exchange information between computer systems.

According to a recent article in MedPage Today, doctors are now “clamoring” for access to patient information ahead of the deadlines for the government’s “meaningful use” program. Doctors and hospitals will get hit with fines for not knowing about patients’ health histories, for patient readmissions and unnecessary retesting. “Meaningful use” refers to provisions in the 2009 Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which authorized incentive payments through Medicare and Medicaid to clinicians and hospitals that use electronic health records in a meaningful way that significantly improves clinical care.
Doctors who accept Medicare will find themselves penalized for not adopting or successfully demonstrating meaningful use of a certified electronic health record (EHR) technology by 2015. Health professionals’ Medicare physician fee schedule amount for covered professional services will be adjusted down by 1% each year for certain categories.  If less than 75% of Eligible Professionals (EPs) have become meaningful users of EHRs by 2018, the adjustment will change by 1% point each year to a maximum of 5% (95% of Medicare covered amount).

With the stick, there’s also a carrot. The Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs provide incentive payments to eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs) as they adopt, implement, upgrade or demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology. Eligible professionals can receive up to $44,000 through the Medicare EHR Incentive Program and up to $63,750 through the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program.

According to HealthIT.Gov, interoperability is essential for applications that interact with users (such as e-prescribing), systems that communicate with each other (such as messaging standards) information processes and management (such as health information exchange) how consumer devices integrate with other systems and applications (such as tablet, smart phones and PCs).

The good news is that more and more hospitals and doctors are participating in data exchanges and sharing patient information. On January 30th, the eHealth Exchange, formerly the Nationwide Health Information Network, and operated by Healtheway, reported a surge in network participation numbers and increases in secure online transactions among members.

According to the news release, membership in the eHealth Exchange is currently pegged at 41 participants who together represent some 800 hospitals, 6,000 mid-to-large medical groups, 800 dialysis centers and 850 retail pharmacies nationwide. Some of the earliest members to sign on with the exchange were the Veterans Health Administration, Department of Defense, Kaiser Permanente, the Social Security Administration and Dignity Health.

While the progress in health information exchanges is good, there is still much work to do in defining standards, so that the right information is available at the right time and place to enable better patient care. Devices are emerging that can capture continuous information on our health status. The information captured by these devices can enable better outcomes, but only if the information is made readily available to medical professionals.

The Open Group recently formed The Open Group Healthcare Forum, which focuses on bringing  Boundaryless Information Flow™ to the healthcare industry enabling data to flow more easily throughout the complete healthcare ecosystem.  By leveraging the discipline and principles of Enterprise Architecture, including TOGAF®, an Open Group standard, the forum aims to develop standardized vocabulary and messaging that will result in higher quality outcomes, streamlined business practices and innovation within the industry.

62940-hietalaJim Hietala, CISSP, GSEC, is the Vice President, Security for The Open Group, where he manages all IT security, risk management and healthcare programs and standards activities. He participates in the SANS Analyst/Expert program and has also published numerous articles on information security, risk management, and compliance topics in publications including The ISSA Journal, Bank Accounting & Finance, Risk Factor, SC Magazine, and others.

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Filed under Boundaryless Information Flow™, Enterprise Architecture, Healthcare, Professional Development, Standards, TOGAF®, Uncategorized

Facing the Challenges of the Healthcare Industry – An Interview with Eric Stephens of The Open Group Healthcare Forum

By The Open Group

The Open Group launched its new Healthcare Forum at the Philadelphia conference in July 2013. The forum’s focus is on bringing Boundaryless Information Flow™ to the healthcare industry to enable data to flow more easily throughout the complete healthcare ecosystem through a standardized vocabulary and messaging. Leveraging the discipline and principles of Enterprise Architecture, including TOGAF®, the forum aims to develop standards that will result in higher quality outcomes, streamlined business practices and innovation within the industry.

At the recent San Francisco 2014 conference, Eric Stephens, Enterprise Architect at Oracle, delivered a keynote address entitled, “Enabling the Opportunity to Achieve Boundaryless Information Flow” along with Larry Schmidt, HP Fellow at Hewlett-Packard. A veteran of the healthcare industry, Stephens was Senior Director of Enterprise Architects Excellus for BlueCross BlueShield prior to joining Oracle and he is an active member of the Healthcare Forum.

We sat down after the keynote to speak with Stephens about the challenges of healthcare, how standards can help realign the industry and the goals of the forum. The opinions expressed here are Stephens’ own, not of his employer.

What are some of the challenges currently facing the healthcare industry?

There are a number of challenges, and I think when we look at it as a U.S.-centric problem, there’s a disproportionate amount of spending that’s taking place in the U.S. For example, if you look at GDP or percentage of GDP expenditures, we’re looking at now probably 18 percent of GDP [in the U.S.], and other developed countries are spending a full 5 percent less than that of their GDP, and in some cases they’re getting better outcomes outside the U.S.

The mere fact that there’s the existence of what we call “medical tourism, where if I need a hip replacement, I can get it done for a fraction of the cost in another country, same or better quality care and have a vacation—a rehab vacation—at the same time and bring along a spouse or significant other, means there’s a real wide range of disparity there. 

There’s also a lack of transparency. Having worked at an insurance company, I can tell you that with the advent of high deductible plans, there’s a need for additional cost information. When I go on Amazon or go to a local furniture store, I know what the cost is going to be for what I’m about to purchase. In the healthcare system, we don’t get that. With high deductible plans, if I’m going to be responsible for a portion or a larger portion of the fee, I want to know what it is. And what happens is, the incentives to drive costs down force the patient to be a consumer. The consumer now asks the tough questions. If my daughter’s going in for a tonsillectomy, show me a bill of materials that shows me what’s going to be done – if you are charging me $20/pill for Tylenol, I’ll bring my own. Increased transparency is what will in turn drive down the overall costs.

I think there’s one more thing, and this gets into the legal side of things. There is an exorbitant amount of legislation and regulation around what needs to be done. And because every time something goes sideways, there’s going to be a lawsuit, doctors will prescribe an extra test, and extra X-ray for a patient whether they need it or not.

The healthcare system is designed around a vicious cycle of diagnose-treat-release. It’s not incentivized to focus on prevention and management. Oregon is promoting these coordinated care organizations (CCOs) that would be this intermediary that works with all medical professionals – whether it was physical, mental, dental, even social worker – to coordinate episodes of care for patients. This drives down inappropriate utilization – for example, using an ER as a primary care facility and drives the medical system towards prevention and management of health. 

Your keynote with Larry Schmidt of HP focused a lot on cultural changes that need to take place within the healthcare industry – what are some of the changes necessary for the healthcare industry to put standards into place?

I would say culturally, it goes back to those incentives, and it goes back to introducing this idea of patient-centricity. And for the medical community, to really start recognizing that these individuals are consumers and increased choice is being introduced, just like you see in other industries. There are disruptive business models. As a for instance, medical tourism is a disruptive business model for United States-based healthcare. The idea of pharmacies introducing clinical medicine for routine care, such as what you see at a CVS, Wal-Mart or Walgreens. I can get a flu shot, I can get a well-check visit, I can get a vaccine – routine stuff that doesn’t warrant a full-blown medical professional. It’s applying the right amount of medical care to a particular situation.

Why haven’t existing standards been adopted more broadly within the industry? What will help providers be more likely to adopt standards?

I think the standards adoption is about “what’s in it for me, the WIIFM idea. It’s demonstrating to providers that utilizing standards is going to help them get out of the medical administration business and focus on their core business, the same way that any other business would want to standardize its information through integration, processes and components. It reduces your overall maintenance costs going forward and arguably you don’t need a team of billing folks sitting in an doctor’s office because you have standardized exchanges of information.

Why haven’t they been adopted? It’s still a question in my mind. Why would a doctor not want to do that is perhaps a question we’re going to need to explore as part of the Healthcare Forum.

Is it doctors that need to adopt the standards or technologies or combination of different constituents within the ecosystem?

I think it’s a combination. We hear a lot about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the health exchanges. What we don’t hear about is the legislation to drive toward standardization to increase interoperability. So unfortunately it would seem the financial incentives or things we’ve tried before haven’t worked, and we may simply have to resort to legislation or at least legislative incentives to make it happen because part of the funding does cover information exchanges so you can move health information between providers and other actors in the healthcare system.

You’re advocating putting the individual at the center of the healthcare ecosystem. What changes need to take place within the industry in order to do this?

I think it’s education, a lot of education that has to take place. I think that individuals via the incentive model around high deductible plans will force some of that but it’s taking responsibility and understanding the individual role in healthcare. It’s also a cultural/societal phenomenon.

I’m kind of speculating here, and going way beyond what enterprise architecture or what IT would deliver, but this is a philosophical thing around if I have an ailment, chances are there’s a pill to fix it. Look at the commercials, every ailment say hypertension, it’s easy, you just dial the medication correctly and you don’t worry as much about diet and exercise. These sorts of things – our over-reliance on medication. I’m certainly not going to knock the medications that are needed for folks that absolutely need them – but I think we can become too dependent on pharmacological solutions for our health problems.   

What responsibility will individuals then have for their healthcare? Will that also require a cultural and behavioral shift for the individual?

The individual has to start managing his or her own health. We manage our careers and families proactively. Now we need to focus on our health and not just float through the system. It may come to financial incentives for certain “individual KPIs such as blood pressure, sugar levels, or BMI. Advances in medical technology may facilitate more personal management of one’s health.

One of the Healthcare Forum’s goals is to help establish Boundaryless Information Flow within the Healthcare industry you’ve said that understanding the healthcare ecosystem will be a key component for that what does that ecosystem encompass and why is it important to know that first?

Very simply we’re talking about the member/patient/consumer, then we get into the payers, the providers, and we have to take into account government agencies and other non-medical agents, but they all have to work in concert and information needs to flow between those organizations in a very standardized way so that decisions can be made in a very timely fashion.

It can’t be bottled up, it’s got to be provided to the right provider at the right time, otherwise, best case, it’s going to cost more to manage all the actors in the system. Worst case, somebody dies or there is a “never event due to misinformation or lack of information during the course of care. The idea of Boundaryless Information Flow gives us the opportunity to standardize, have easily accessible information – and by the way secured – it can really aide in that decision-making process going forward. It’s no different than Wal-Mart knowing what kind of merchandise sells well before and after a hurricane (i.e., beer and toaster pastries, BTW). It’s the same kind of real-time information that’s made available to a Google car so it can steer its way down the road. It’s that kind of viscosity needed to make the right decisions at the right time.

Healthcare is a highly regulated industry, how can Boundarylesss Information Flow and data collection on individuals be achieved and still protect patient privacy?

We can talk about standards and the flow and the technical side. We need to focus on the security and privacy side.  And there’s going to be a legislative side because we’re going to touch on real fundamental data governance issue – who owns the patient record? Each actor in the system thinks they own the patient record. If we’re going to require more personal accountability for healthcare, then shouldn’t the consumer have more ownership? 

We also need to address privacy disclosure regulations to avoid catastrophic data leaks of protected health information (PHI). We need bright IT talent to pull off the integration we are talking about here. We also need folks who are well versed in the privacy laws and regulations. I’ve seen project teams of 200 have up to eight folks just focusing on the security and privacy considerations. We can argue about headcount later but my point is the same – one needs some focused resources around this topic.

What will standards bring to the healthcare industry that is missing now?

I think the standards, and more specifically the harmonization of the standards, is going to bring increased maintainability of solutions, I think it’s going to bring increased interoperability, I think it’s going to bring increased opportunities too. We see mobile computing or even DropBox, that has API hooks into all sorts of tools, and it’s well integrated – so I can integrate and I can move files between devices, I can move files between apps because they have hooks it’s easy to work with. So it’s building these communities of developers, apps and technical capabilities that makes it easy to move the personal health record for example, back and forth between providers and it’s not a cataclysmic event to integrate a new version of electronic health records (EHR) or to integrate the next version of an EHR. This idea of standardization but also some flexibility that goes into it.

Are you looking just at the U.S. or how do you make a standard that can go across borders and be international?

It is a concern, much of my thinking and much of what I’ve conveyed today is U.S.-centric, based on our problems, but many of these interoperability problems are international. We’re going to need to address it; I couldn’t tell you what the sequence is right now. There are other considerations, for example, single vs. multi-payer—that came up in the keynote. We tend to think that if we stay focused on the consumer/patient we’re going to get it for all constituencies. It will take time to go international with a standard, but it wouldn’t be the first time. We have a host of technical standards for the Internet (e.g., TCP/IP, HTTP). The industry has been able to instill these standards across geographies and vendors. Admittedly, the harmonization of health care-related standards will be more difficult. However, as our world shrinks with globalization an international lens will need to be applied to this challenge. 

Eric StephensEric Stephens (@EricStephens) is a member of Oracle’s executive advisory community where he focuses on advancing clients’ business initiatives leveraging the practice of Business and Enterprise Architecture. Prior to joining Oracle he was Senior Director of Enterprise Architecture at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield leading the organization with architecture design, innovation, and technology adoption capabilities within the healthcare industry.

 

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Gaining Dependability Across All Business Activities Requires Standard of Standards to Tame Dynamic Complexity, Says The Open Group CEO

By Dana Gardner, Interarbor Solutions

Listen to the recorded podcast here

Hello, and welcome to a special BriefingsDirect Thought Leadership

Interview series, coming to you in conjunction with The Open Group Conference on July 15, in Philadelphia.

88104-aaadanaI’m Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host and moderator throughout these discussions on enterprise transformation in the finance, government, and healthcare sector.

We’re here now with the President and CEO of The Open Group, Allen Brown, to explore the increasingly essential role of standards, in an undependable, unpredictable world. [Disclosure: The Open Group is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Welcome back, Allen.

Allen Brown: It’s good to be here, Dana. abrown

Gardner: What are the environmental variables that many companies are facing now as they try to improve their businesses and assess the level of risk and difficulty? It seems like so many moving targets.

 Brown: Absolutely. There are a lot of moving targets. We’re looking at a situation where organizations are having to put in increasingly complex systems. They’re expected to make them highly available, highly safe, highly secure, and to do so faster and cheaper. That’s kind of tough.

Gardner: One of the ways that organizations have been working towards a solution is to have a standardized approach, perhaps some methodologies, because if all the different elements of their business approach this in a different way, we don’t get too far too quickly, and it can actually be more expensive.

Perhaps you could paint for us the vision of an organization like The Open Group in terms of helping organizations standardize and be a little bit more thoughtful and proactive towards these changed elements?

Brown: With the vision of The Open Group, the headline is “Boundaryless Information Flow.” That was established back in 2002, at a time when organizations were breakingdown the stovepipes or the silos within and between organizations and getting people to work together across functioning. They found, having done that, or having made some progress towards that, that the applications and systems were built for those silos. So how can we provide integrated information for all those people?

As we have moved forward, those boundaryless systems have become bigger

and much more complex. Now, boundarylessness and complexity are giving everyone different types of challenges. Many of the forums or consortia that make up The Open Group are all tackling it from their own perspective, and it’s all coming together very well.

We have got something like the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) Consortium, which is a managed consortium of The Open Group focused on federal aviation. In the federal aviation world they’re dealing with issues like weapons systems.

New weapons

Over time, building similar weapons is going to be more expensive, inflation happens. But the changing nature of warfare is such that you’ve then got a situation where you’ve got to produce new weapons. You have to produce them quickly and you have to produce them inexpensively.

So how can we have standards that make for more plug and play? How can the avionics within a cockpit of whatever airborne vehicle be more interchangeable, so that they can be adapted more quickly and do things faster and at lower cost.

After all, cost is a major pressure on government departments right now.

We’ve also got the challenges of the supply chain. Because of the pressure on costs, it’s critical that large, complex systems are developed using a global supply chain. It’s impossible to do it all domestically at a cost. Given that, countries around the world, including the US and China, are all concerned about what they’re putting into their complex systems that may have tainted or malicious code or counterfeit products.

The Open Group Trusted Technology Forum (OTTF) provides a standard that ensures that, at each stage along the supply chain, we know that what’s going into the products is clean, the process is clean, and what goes to the next link in the chain is clean. And we’re working on an accreditation program all along the way.

We’re also in a world, which when we mention security, everyone is concerned about being attacked, whether it’s cybersecurity or other areas of security, and we’ve got to concern ourselves with all of those as we go along the way.

Our Security Forum is looking at how we build those things out. The big thing about large, complex systems is that they’re large and complex. If something goes wrong, how can you fix it in a prescribed time scale? How can you establish what went wrong quickly and how can you address it quickly?

If you’ve got large, complex systems that fail, it can mean human life, as it did with the BP oil disaster at Deepwater Horizon or with Space Shuttle Challenger. Or it could be financial. In many organizations, when something goes wrong, you end up giving away service.

An example that we might use is at a railway station where, if the barriers don’t work, the only solution may be to open them up and give free access. That could be expensive. And you can use that analogy for many other industries, but how can we avoid that human or financial cost in any of those things?

A couple of years after the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, a number of criteria were laid down for making sure you had dependable systems, you could assess risk, and you could know that you would mitigate against it.

What The Open Group members are doing is looking at how you can get dependability and assuredness through different systems. Our Security Forum has done a couple of standards that have got a real bearing on this. One is called Dependency Modeling, and you can model out all of the dependencies that you have in any system.

Simple analogy

A very simple analogy is that if you are going on a road trip in a car, you’ve got to have a competent driver, have enough gas in the tank, know where you’re going, have a map, all of those things.

What can go wrong? You can assess the risks. You may run out of gas or you may not know where you’re going, but you can mitigate those risks, and you can also assign accountability. If the gas gauge is going down, it’s the driver’s accountability to check the gauge and make sure that more gas is put in.

We’re trying to get that same sort of thinking through to these large complex systems. What you’re looking at doing, as you develop or evolve large, complex systems, is to build in this accountability and build in understanding of the dependencies, understanding of the assurance cases that you need, and having these ways of identifying anomalies early, preventing anything from failing. If it does fail, you want to minimize the stoppage and, at the same time, minimize the cost and the impact, and more importantly, making sure that that failure never happens again in that system.

The Security Forum has done the Dependency Modeling standard. They have also provided us with the Risk Taxonomy. That’s a separate standard that helps us analyze risk and go through all of the different areas of risk.

Now, the Real-time & Embedded Systems Forum has produced the Dependability through Assuredness, a standard of The Open Group, that brings all of these things together. We’ve had a wonderful international endeavor on this, bringing a lot of work from Japan, working with the folks in the US and other parts of the world. It’s been a unique activity.

Dependability through Assuredness depends upon having two interlocked cycles. The first is a Change Management Cycle that says that, as you look at requirements, you build out the dependencies, you build out the assurance cases for those dependencies, and you update the architecture. Everything has to start with architecture now.

You build in accountability, and accountability, importantly, has to be accepted. You can’t just dictate that someone is accountable. You have to have a negotiation. Then, through ordinary operation, you assess whether there are anomalies that can be detected and fix those anomalies by new requirements that lead to new dependabilities, new assurance cases, new architecture and so on.

The other cycle that’s critical in this, though, is the Failure Response Cycle. If there is a perceived failure or an actual failure, there is understanding of the cause, prevention of it ever happening again, and repair. That goes through the Change Accommodation Cycle as well, to make sure that we update the requirements, the assurance cases, the dependability, the architecture, and the accountability.

So the plan is that with a dependable system through that assuredness, we can manage these large, complex systems much more easily.

Gardner: Allen, many of The Open Group activities have been focused at the enterprise architect or business architect levels. Also with these risk and security issues, you’re focusing at chief information security officers or governance, risk, and compliance (GRC), officials or administrators. It sounds as if the Dependability through Assuredness standard shoots a little higher. Is this something a board-level mentality or leadership should be thinking about, and is this something that reports to them?

Board-level issue

Brown: In an organization, risk is a board-level issue, security has become a board-level issue, and so has organization design and architecture. They’re all up at that level. It’s a matter of the fiscal responsibility of the board to make sure that the organization is sustainable, and to make sure that they’ve taken the right actions to protect their organization in the future, in the event of an attack or a failure in their activities.

The risks to an organization are financial and reputation, and those risks can be very real. So, yes, they should be up there. Interestingly, when we’re looking at areas like business architecture, sometimes that might be part of the IT function, but very often now we’re seeing as reporting through the business lines. Even in governments around the world, the business architects are very often reporting up to business heads.

Gardner: Here in Philadelphia, you’re focused on some industry verticals, finance, government, health. We had a very interesting presentation this morning by Dr. David Nash, who is the Dean of the Jefferson School of Population Health, and he had some very interesting insights about what’s going on in the United States vis-à-vis public policy and healthcare.

One of the things that jumped out at me was, at the end of his presentation, he was saying how important it was to have behavior modification as an element of not only individuals taking better care of themselves, but also how hospitals, providers, and even payers relate across those boundaries of their organization.

That brings me back to this notion that these standards are very powerful and useful, but without getting people to change, they don’t have the impact that they should. So is there an element that you’ve learned and that perhaps we can borrow from Dr. Nash in terms of applying methods that actually provoke change, rather than react to change?

Brown: Yes, change is a challenge for many people. Getting people to change is like taking a horse to water, but will it drink? We’ve got to find methods of doing that.

One of the things about The Open Group standards is that they’re pragmatic and practical standards. We’ve seen’ in many of our standards’ that where they apply to product or service, there is a procurement pull through. So the FACE Consortium, for example, a $30 billion procurement means that this is real and true.

In the case of healthcare, Dr. Nash was talking about the need for boundaryless information sharing across the organizations. This is a major change and it’s a change to the culture of the organizations that are involved. It’s also a change to the consumer, the patient, and the patient advocates.

All of those will change over time. Some of that will be social change, where the change is expected and it’s a social norm. Some of that change will change as people and generations develop. The younger generations are more comfortable with authority that they perceive with the healthcare professionals, and also of modifying the behavior of the professionals.

The great thing about the healthcare service very often is that we have professionals who want to do a number of things. They want to improve the lives of their patients, and they also want to be able to do more with less.

Already a need

There’s already a need. If you want to make any change, you have to create a need, but in healthcare, there is already a pent-up need that people see that they want to change. We can provide them with the tools and the standards that enable it to do that, and standards are critically important, because you are using the same language across everyone.

It’s much easier for people to apply the same standards if they are using the same language, and you get a multiplier effect on the rate of change that you can achieve by using those standards. But I believe that there is this pent-up demand. The need for change is there. If we can provide them with the appropriate usable standards, they will benefit more rapidly.

Gardner: Of course, measuring the progress with the standards approach helps as well. We can determine where we are along the path as either improvements are happening or not happening. It gives you a common way of measuring.

The other thing that was fascinating to me with Dr. Nash’s discussion was that he was almost imploring the IT people in the crowd to come to the rescue. He’s looking for a cavalry and he’d really seemed to feel that IT, the data, the applications, the sharing, the collaboration, and what can happen across various networks, all need to be brought into this.

How do we bring these worlds together? There is this policy, healthcare and population statisticians are doing great academic work, and then there is the whole IT world. Is this something that The Open Group can do — bridge these large, seemingly unrelated worlds?

Brown: At the moment, we have the capability of providing the tools for them to do that and the processes for them to do that. Healthcare is a very complex world with the administrators and the healthcare professionals. You have different grades of those in different places. Each department and each organization has its different culture, and bringing them together is a significant challenge.

In some of that processes, certainly, you start with understanding what it is you’re trying to address. You start with what are the pain points, what are the challenges, what are the blockages, and how can we overcome those blockages? It’s a way of bringing people together in workshops. TOGAF, a standard of The Open Group, has the business scenario method, bringing people together, building business scenarios, and understanding what people’s pain points are.

As long as we can then follow through with the solutions and not disappoint people, there is the opportunity for doing that. The reality is that you have to do that in small areas at a time. We’re not going to take the entire population of the United States and get everyone in the workshop and work altogether.

But you can start in pockets and then generate evangelists, proof points, and successful case studies. The work will then start emanating out to all other areas.

Gardner: It seems too that, with a heightened focus on vertical industries, there are lessons that could be learned in one vertical industry and perhaps applied to another. That also came out in some of the discussions around big data here at the conference.

The financial industry recognized the crucial role that data plays, made investments, and brought the constituencies of domain expertise in finance with the IT domain expertise in data and analysis, and came up with some very impressive results.

Do you see that what has been the case in something like finance is now making its way to healthcare? Is this an enterprise or business architect role that opens up more opportunity for those individuals as business and/or enterprise architects in healthcare? Why don’t we see more enterprise architects in healthcare?

Good folks

Brown: I don’t know. We haven’t run the numbers to see how many there are. There are some very competent enterprise architects within the healthcare industry around the world. We’ve got some good folks there.

The focus of The Open Group for the last couple of decades or so has always been on horizontal standards, standards that are applicable to any industry. Our focus is always about pragmatic standards that can be implemented and touched and felt by end-user consumer organizations.

Now, we’re seeing how we can make those even more pragmatic and relevant by addressing the verticals, but we’re not going to lose the horizontal focus. We’ll be looking at what lessons can be learned and what we can build on. Big data is a great example of the fact that the same kind of approach of gathering the data from different sources, whatever that is, and for mixing it up and being able to analyze it, can be applied anywhere.

The challenge with that, of course, is being able to capture it, store it, analyze it, and make some sense of it. You need the resources, the storage, and the capability of actually doing that. It’s not just a case of, “I’ll go and get some big data today.”

I do believe that there are lessons learned that we can move from one industry to another. I also believe that, since some geographic areas and some countries are ahead of others, there’s also a cascading of knowledge and capability around the world in a given time scale as well.

Gardner: Well great. I’m afraid we’ll have to leave it there. We’ve been talking about the increasingly essential role of standards in a complex world, where risk and dependability become even more essential. We have seen how The Open Group is evolving to meet these challenges through many of its activities and through many of the discussions here at the conference.

Please join me now in thanking our guest, Allen Brown, President and CEO of The Open Group. Thank you.

Brown: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Dana.

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Filed under ArchiMate®, Business Architecture, Cloud, Conference, Enterprise Architecture, Healthcare, Open Platform 3.0, Professional Development, Service Oriented Architecture, TOGAF, TOGAF®

The Open Group Conference to Emphasize Healthcare as Key Sector for Ecosystem-Wide Interactions

By Dana Gardner, Interarbor Solutions

Listen to the recorded podcast here

Dana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to a special BriefingsDirect Thought Leadership Interview series, coming to you in conjunction with The Open Group Conference on July 15, in Philadelphia. Registration to the conference remains open. Follow the conference on Twitter at #ogPHL.

Gardner

I’m Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host and moderator throughout these discussions on enterprise transformation in the finance, government, and healthcare sector.

We’re here now with a panel of experts to explore how new IT trends are empowering improvements, specifically in the area of healthcare. We’ll learn how healthcare industry organizations are seeking large-scale transformation and what are some of the paths they’re taking to realize that.

We’ll see how improved cross-organizational collaboration and such trends as big data and cloud computing are helping to make healthcare more responsive and efficient.

With that, please join me in welcoming our panel, Jason Uppal, Chief Architect and Acting CEO at clinicalMessage. Welcome, Jason.

Jason Uppal: Thank you, Dana.

Inside of healthcare and inside the healthcare ecosystem, information either doesn’t flow well or it only flows at a great cost.

Gardner: And we’re also joined by Larry Schmidt, Chief Technologist at HP for the Health and Life Sciences Industries. Welcome, Larry.

Larry Schmidt: Thank you.

Gardner: And also, Jim Hietala, Vice President of Security at The Open Group. Welcome back, Jim. [Disclosure: The Open Group and HP are sponsors of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Jim Hietala: Thanks, Dana. Good to be with you.

Gardner: Let’s take a look at this very interesting and dynamic healthcare sector, Jim. What, in particular, is so special about healthcare and why do things like enterprise architecture and allowing for better interoperability and communication across organizational boundaries seem to be so relevant here?

Hietala: There’s general acknowledgement in the industry that, inside of healthcare and inside the healthcare ecosystem, information either doesn’t flow well or it only flows at a great cost in terms of custom integration projects and things like that.

Fertile ground

From The Open Group’s perspective, it seems that the healthcare industry and the ecosystem really is fertile ground for bringing to bear some of the enterprise architecture concepts that we work with at The Open Group in order to improve, not only how information flows, but ultimately, how patient care occurs.

Gardner: Larry Schmidt, similar question to you. What are some of the unique challenges that are facing the healthcare community as they try to improve on responsiveness, efficiency, and greater capabilities?

Schmidt: There are several things that have not really kept up with what technology is able to do today.

For example, the whole concept of personal observation comes into play in what we would call “value chains” that exist right now between a patient and a doctor. We look at things like mobile technologies and want to be able to leverage that to provide additional observation of an individual, so that the doctor can make a more complete diagnosis of some sickness or possibly some medication that a person is on.

We want to be able to see that observation in real life, as opposed to having to take that in at the office, which typically winds up happening. I don’t know about everybody else, but every time I go see my doctor, oftentimes I get what’s called white coat syndrome. My blood pressure will go up. But that’s not giving the doctor an accurate reading from the standpoint of providing great observations.

Technology has advanced to the point where we can do that in real time using mobile and other technologies, yet the communication flow, that information flow, doesn’t exist today, or is at best, not easily communicated between doctor and patient.

There are plenty of places that additional collaboration and communication can improve the whole healthcare delivery model.

If you look at the ecosystem, as Jim offered, there are plenty of places that additional collaboration and communication can improve the whole healthcare delivery model.

That’s what we’re about. We want to be able to find the places where the technology has advanced, where standards don’t exist today, and just fuel the idea of building common communication methods between those stakeholders and entities, allowing us to then further the flow of good information across the healthcare delivery model.

Gardner: Jason Uppal, let’s think about what, in addition to technology, architecture, and methodologies can bring to bear here? Is there also a lag in terms of process thinking in healthcare, as well as perhaps technology adoption?

Uppal: I’m going to refer to a presentation that I watched from a very well-known surgeon from Harvard, Dr. Atul Gawande. His point was is that, in the last 50 years, the medical industry has made great strides in identifying diseases, drugs, procedures, and therapies, but one thing that he was alluding to was that medicine forgot the cost, that everything is cost.

At what price?

Today, in his view, we can cure a lot of diseases and lot of issues, but at what price? Can anybody actually afford it?

Uppal

His view is that if healthcare is going to change and improve, it has to be outside of the medical industry. The tools that we have are better today, like collaborative tools that are available for us to use, and those are the ones that he was recommending that we need to explore further.

That is where enterprise architecture is a powerful methodology to use and say, “Let’s take a look at it from a holistic point of view of all the stakeholders. See what their information needs are. Get that information to them in real time and let them make the right decisions.”

Therefore, there is no reason for the health information to be stuck in organizations. It could go with where the patient and providers are, and let them make the best decision, based on the best practices that are available to them, as opposed to having siloed information.

So enterprise-architecture methods are most suited for developing a very collaborative environment. Dr. Gawande was pointing out that, if healthcare is going to improve, it has to think about it not as medicine, but as healthcare delivery.

There are definitely complexities that occur based on the different insurance models and how healthcare is delivered across and between countries.

Gardner: And it seems that not only are there challenges in terms of technology adoption and even operating more like an efficient business in some ways. We also have very different climates from country to country, jurisdiction to jurisdiction. There are regulations, compliance, and so forth.

Going back to you, Larry, how important of an issue is that? How complex does it get because we have such different approaches to healthcare and insurance from country to country?

Schmidt: There are definitely complexities that occur based on the different insurance models and how healthcare is delivered across and between countries, but some of the basic and fundamental activities in the past that happened as a result of delivering healthcare are consistent across countries.

As Jason has offered, enterprise architecture can provide us the means to explore what the art of the possible might be today. It could allow us the opportunity to see how innovation can occur if we enable better communication flow between the stakeholders that exist with any healthcare delivery model in order to give us the opportunity to improve the overall population.

After all, that’s what this is all about. We want to be able to enable a collaborative model throughout the stakeholders to improve the overall health of the population. I think that’s pretty consistent across any country that we might work in.

Ongoing work

Gardner: Jim Hietala, maybe you could help us better understand what’s going on within The Open Group and, even more specifically, at the conference in Philadelphia. There is the Population Health Working Group and there is work towards a vision of enabling the boundaryless information flow between the stakeholders. Any other information and detail you could offer would be great.[Registration to the conference remains open. Follow the conference on Twitter at #ogPHL.]

Hietala: On Tuesday of the conference, we have a healthcare focus day. The keynote that morning will be given by Dr. David Nash, Dean of the Jefferson School of Population Health. He’ll give what’s sure to be a pretty interesting presentation, followed by a reactors’ panel, where we’ve invited folks from different stakeholder constituencies.

Hietala

We are going to have clinicians there. We’re going to have some IT folks and some actual patients to give their reaction to Dr. Nash’s presentation. We think that will be an interesting and entertaining panel discussion.

The balance of the day, in terms of the healthcare content, we have a workshop. Larry Schmidt is giving one of the presentations there, and Jason and myself and some other folks from our working group are involved in helping to facilitate and carry out the workshop.

The goal of it is to look into healthcare challenges, desired outcomes, the extended healthcare enterprise, and the extended healthcare IT enterprise and really gather those pain points that are out there around things like interoperability to surface those and develop a work program coming out of this.

We want to be able to enable a collaborative model throughout the stakeholders to improve the overall health of the population.

So we expect it to be an interesting day if you are in the healthcare IT field or just the healthcare field generally, it would definitely be a day well spent to check it out.

Gardner: Larry, you’re going to be talking on Tuesday. Without giving too much away, maybe you can help us understand the emphasis that you’re taking, the area that you’re going to be exploring.

Schmidt: I’ve titled the presentation “Remixing Healthcare through Enterprise Architecture.” Jason offered some thoughts as to why we want to leverage enterprise architecture to discipline healthcare. My thoughts are that we want to be able to make sure we understand how the collaborative model would work in healthcare, taking into consideration all the constituents and stakeholders that exist within the complete ecosystem of healthcare.

This is not just collaboration across the doctors, patients, and maybe the payers in a healthcare delivery model. This could be out as far as the drug companies and being able to get drug companies to a point where they can reorder their raw materials to produce new drugs in the case of an epidemic that might be occurring.

Real-time model

It would be a real-time model that allows us the opportunity to understand what’s truly happening, both to an individual from a healthcare standpoint, as well as to a country or a region within a country and so on from healthcare. This remixing of enterprise architecture is the introduction to that concept of leveraging enterprise architecture into this collaborative model.

Then, I would like to talk about some of the technologies that I’ve had the opportunity to explore around what is available today in technology. I believe we need to have some type of standardized messaging or collaboration models to allow us to further facilitate the ability of that technology to provide the value of healthcare delivery or betterment of healthcare to individuals. I’ll talk about that a little bit within my presentation and give some good examples.

It’s really interesting. I just traveled from my company’s home base back to my home base and I thought about something like a body scanner that you get into in the airport. I know we’re in the process of eliminating some of those scanners now within the security model from the airports, but could that possibly be something that becomes an element within healthcare delivery? Every time your body is scanned, there’s a possibility you can gather information about that, and allow that to become a part of your electronic medical record.

There is a lot of information available today that could be used in helping our population to be healthier.

Hopefully, that was forward thinking, but that kind of thinking is going to play into the art of the possible, with what we are going to be doing, both in this presentation and talking about that as part of the workshop.

Gardner: Larry, we’ve been having some other discussions with The Open Group around what they call Open Platform 3.0™, which is the confluence of big data, mobile, cloud computing, and social.

One of the big issues today is this avalanche of data, the Internet of things, but also the Internet of people. It seems that the more work that’s done to bring Open Platform 3.0 benefits to bear on business decisions, it could very well be impactful for centers and other data that comes from patients, regardless of where they are, to a medical establishment, regardless of where it is.

So do you think we’re really on the cusp of a significant shift in how medicine is actually conducted?

Schmidt: I absolutely believe that. There is a lot of information available today that could be used in helping our population to be healthier. And it really isn’t only the challenge of the communication model that we’ve been speaking about so far. It’s also understanding the information that’s available to us to take that and make that into knowledge to be applied in order to help improve the health of the population.

As we explore this from an as-is model in enterprise architecture to something that we believe we can first enable through a great collaboration model, through standardized messaging and things like that, I believe we’re going to get into even deeper detail around how information can truly provide empowered decisions to physicians and individuals around their healthcare.

So it will carry forward into the big data and analytics challenges that we have talked about and currently are talking about with The Open Group.

Healthcare framework

Gardner: Jason Uppal, we’ve also seen how in other business sectors, industries have faced transformation and have needed to rely on something like enterprise architecture and a framework like TOGAF® in order to manage that process and make it something that’s standardized, understood, and repeatable.

It seems to me that healthcare can certainly use that, given the pace of change, but that the impact on healthcare could be quite a bit larger in terms of actual dollars. This is such a large part of the economy that even small incremental improvements can have dramatic effects when it comes to dollars and cents.

So is there a benefit to bringing enterprise architect to healthcare that is larger and greater than other sectors because of these economics and issues of scale?

Uppal: That’s a great way to think about this thing. In other industries, applying enterprise architecture to do banking and insurance may be easily measured in terms of dollars and cents, but healthcare is a fundamentally different economy and industry.

It’s not about dollars and cents. It’s about people’s lives, and loved ones who are sick, who could very easily be treated, if they’re caught in time and the right people are around the table at the right time. So this is more about human cost than dollars and cents. Dollars and cents are critical, but human cost is the larger play here.

Whatever systems and methods are developed, they have to work for everybody in the world.

Secondly, when we think about applying enterprise architecture to healthcare, we’re not talking about just the U.S. population. We’re talking about global population here. So whatever systems and methods are developed, they have to work for everybody in the world. If the U.S. economy can afford an expensive healthcare delivery, what about the countries that don’t have the same kind of resources? Whatever methods and delivery mechanisms you develop have to work for everybody globally.

That’s one of the things that a methodology like TOGAF brings out and says to look at it from every stakeholder’s point of view, and unless you have dealt with every stakeholder’s concerns, you don’t have an architecture, you have a system that’s designed for that specific set of audience.

The cost is not this 18 percent of the gross domestic product in the U.S. that is representing healthcare. It’s the human cost, which is many multitudes of that. That’s is one of the areas where we could really start to think about how do we affect that part of the economy, not the 18 percent of it, but the larger part of the economy, to improve the health of the population, not only in the North America, but globally.

If that’s the case, then what really will be the impact on our greater world economy is improving population health, and population health is probably becoming our biggest problem in our economy.

We’ll be testing these methods at a greater international level, as opposed to just at an organization and industry level. This is a much larger challenge. A methodology like TOGAF is a proven and it could be stressed and tested to that level. This is a great opportunity for us to apply our tools and science to a problem that is larger than just dollars. It’s about humans.

All “experts”

Gardner: Jim Hietala, in some ways, we’re all experts on healthcare. When we’re sick, we go for help and interact with a variety of different services to maintain our health and to improve our lifestyle. But in being experts, I guess that also means we are witnesses to some of the downside of an unconnected ecosystem of healthcare providers and payers.

One of the things I’ve noticed in that vein is that I have to deal with different organizations that don’t seem to communicate well. If there’s no central process organizer, it’s really up to me as the patient to pull the lines together between the different services — tests, clinical observations, diagnosis, back for results from tests, sharing the information, and so forth.

Have you done any studies or have anecdotal information about how that boundaryless information flow would be still relevant, even having more of a centralized repository that all the players could draw on, sort of a collaboration team resource of some sort? I know that’s worked in other industries. Is this not a perfect opportunity for that boundarylessness to be managed?

Hietala: I would say it is. We all have experiences with going to see a primary physician, maybe getting sent to a specialist, getting some tests done, and the boundaryless information that’s flowing tends to be on paper delivered by us as patients in all the cases.

So the opportunity to improve that situation is pretty obvious to anybody who’s been in the healthcare system as a patient. I think it’s a great place to be doing work. There’s a lot of money flowing to try and address this problem, at least here in the U.S. with the HITECH Act and some of the government spending around trying to improve healthcare.

We’ll be testing these methods at a greater international level, as opposed to just at an organization and industry level.

You’ve got healthcare information exchanges that are starting to develop, and you have got lots of pain points for organizations in terms of trying to share information and not having standards that enable them to do it. It seems like an area that’s really a great opportunity area to bring lots of improvement.

Gardner: Let’s look for some examples of where this has been attempted and what the success brings about. I’ll throw this out to anyone on the panel. Do you have any examples that you can point to, either named organizations or anecdotal use case scenarios, of a better organization, an architectural approach, leveraging IT efficiently and effectively, allowing data to flow, putting in processes that are repeatable, centralized, organized, and understood. How does that work out?

Uppal: I’ll give you an example. One of the things that happens when a patient is admitted to hospital and in hospital is that they get what’s called a high-voltage care. There is staff around them 24×7. There are lots of people around, and every specialty that you can think of is available to them. So the patient, in about two or three days, starts to feel much better.

When that patient gets discharged, they get discharged to home most of the time. They go from very high-voltage care to next to no care. This is one of the areas where in one of the organizations we work with is able to discharge the patient and, instead of discharging them to the primary care doc, who may not receive any records from the hospital for several days, they get discharged to into a virtual team. So if the patient is at home, the virtual team is available to them through their mobile phone 24×7.

Connect with provider

If, at 3 o’clock in the morning, the patient doesn’t feel right, instead of having to call an ambulance to go to hospital once again and get readmitted, they have a chance to connect with their care provider at that time and say, “This is what the issue is. What do you want me to do next? Is this normal for the medication that I am on, or this is something abnormal that is happening?”

When that information is available to that care provider who may not necessarily have been part of the care team when the patient was in the hospital, that quick readily available information is key for keeping that person at home, as opposed to being readmitted to the hospital.

We all know that the cost of being in a hospital is 10 times more than it is being at home. But there’s also inconvenience and human suffering associated with being in a hospital, as opposed to being at home.

Those are some of the examples that we have, but they are very limited, because our current health ecosystem is a very organization specific, not  patient and provider specific. This is the area there is a huge room for opportunities for healthcare delivery, thinking about health information, not in the context of the organization where the patient is, as opposed to in a cloud, where it’s an association between the patient and provider and health information that’s there.

Extending that model will bring infinite value to not only reducing the cost, but improving the cost and quality of care.

In the past, we used to have emails that were within our four walls. All of a sudden, with Gmail and Yahoo Mail, we have email available to us anywhere. A similar thing could be happening for the healthcare record. This could be somewhere in the cloud’s eco setting, where it’s securely protected and used by only people who have granted access to it.

Those are some of the examples where extending that model will bring infinite value to not only reducing the cost, but improving the cost and quality of care.

Schmidt: Jason touched upon the home healthcare scenario and being able to provide touch points at home. Another place that we see evolving right now in the industry is the whole concept of mobile office space. Both countries, as well as rural places within countries that are developed, are actually getting rural hospitals and rural healthcare offices dropped in by helicopter to allow the people who live in those communities to have the opportunity to talk to a doctor via satellite technologies and so on.

The whole concept of a architecture around and being able to deal with an extension of what truly lines up being telemedicine is something that we’re seeing today. It would be wonderful if we could point to things like standards that allow us to be able to facilitate both the communication protocols as well as the information flows in that type of setting.

Many corporations can jump on the bandwagon to help the rural communities get the healthcare information and capabilities that they need via the whole concept of telemedicine.

That’s another area where enterprise architecture has come into play. Now that we see examples of that working in the industry today, I am hoping that as part of this working group, we’ll get to the point where we’re able to facilitate that much better, enabling innovation to occur for multiple companies via some of the architecture or the architecture work we are planning on producing.

Single view

Gardner: It seems that we’ve come a long way on the business side in many industries of getting a single view of the customer, as it’s called, the customer relationship management, big data, spreading the analysis around among different data sources and types. This sounds like a perfect fit for a single view of the patient across their life, across their care spectrum, and then of course involving many different types of organizations. But the government also needs to have a role here.

Jim Hietala, at The Open Group Conference in Philadelphia, you’re focusing on not only healthcare, but finance and government. Regarding the government and some of the agencies that you all have as members on some of your panels, how well do they perceive this need for enterprise architecture level abilities to be brought to this healthcare issue?

Hietala: We’ve seen encouraging signs from folks in government that are encouraging to us in bringing this work to the forefront. There is a recognition that there needs to be better data flowing throughout the extended healthcare IT ecosystem, and I think generally they are supportive of initiatives like this to make that happen.

Gardner: Of course having conferences like this, where you have a cross pollination between vertical industries, will perhaps allow some of the technical people to talk with some of the government people too and also have a conversation with some of the healthcare people. That’s where some of these ideas and some of the collaboration could also be very powerful.

We’ve seen encouraging signs from folks in government that are encouraging to us in bringing this work to the forefront.

I’m afraid we’re almost out of time. We’ve been talking about an interesting healthcare transition, moving into a new phase or even era of healthcare.

Our panel of experts have been looking at some of the trends in IT and how they are empowering improvement for how healthcare can be more responsive and efficient. And we’ve seen how healthcare industry organizations can take large scale transformation using cross-organizational collaboration, for example, and other such tools as big data, analytics, and cloud computing to help solve some of these issues.

This special BriefingsDirect discussion comes to you in conjunction with The Open Group Conference this July in Philadelphia. Registration to the conference remains open. Follow the conference on Twitter at #ogPHL, and you will hear more about healthcare or Open Platform 3.0 as well as enterprise transformation in the finance, government, and healthcare sectors.

With that, I’d like to thank our panel. We’ve been joined today by Jason Uppal, Chief Architect and Acting CEO at clinicalMessage. Thank you so much, Jason.

Uppal: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: And also Larry Schmidt, Chief Technologist at HP for the Health and Life Sciences Industries. Thanks, Larry.

Schmidt: You bet, appreciate the time to share my thoughts. Thank you.

Gardner: And then also Jim Hietala, Vice President of Security at The Open Group. Thanks so much.

Hietala: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host and moderator throughout these thought leader interviews. Thanks again for listening and come back next time.

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Filed under ArchiMate®, Business Architecture, Cloud, Conference, Enterprise Architecture, Healthcare, Open Platform 3.0, Professional Development, Service Oriented Architecture, TOGAF, TOGAF®

Healthcare Transformation – Let’s be Provocative

by Jason Uppal, Chief Architect, QRS

Recently, I attended a one-day healthcare transformation event in Toronto. The master of ceremony, a renowned doctor, asked the speakers to be provocative in how to tackle the issues in healthcare and healthcare delivery in a specific way. After about 8 speakers – I must admit I did not hear anything that social media will classify as “remarkable” either in terms of problem definition or the solution direction – all speeches emphasized the importance of better healthcare. I watched one video, Jess’s Story, and I am convinced without discussion that we need a better way to deliver care.

I am an Engineer and not a Medical Doctor. In my profession, we spend 90% of our effort defining the problem and 10% solving it with known solution patterns. In this blog, I would like to define the healthcare delivery problem and offer a potential solution direction.

 First the Basic Facts

Table 1: Healthcare Spending and Quality

Country 1980 [$] 2007 [$] 2010 [$] 2012 [$] Healthcare Quality Ranking
US 1106 6102 8233 8946 6
Canada 3165 4445 5
Germany 3005 4338 1

Note: $ represent per capita spend per year, sources of information are public; references can be made available if required. Healthcare Quality Ranking – lower the number the better

Firstly, the obvious fact is that the US spends more on healthcare per capita and gets less for it.  These facts as well as many other studies lead to the same conclusion.

Problem Definition, Option 1 – Straight-forward reduction of healthcare costs: US healthcare roughly represents 18% of the US GDP. Reduction in spending will result in shrinking the GDP, unless politicians spend the saved money somewhere else. This is not a good option as we all know the impact of austerity measures without altering the underlying process. Or even closer to home, the impact of the recent sequesters on air traffic in major us airports has resulted in terrible delays and has significantly inconvenienced the traveling public.  We learned during the 1980s when “reengineering” was a sexy terms that when we reduced labour by 30%, we simply hoped the remaining souls would figure out how to do work with less.  We all knew what that approach did, fat paycheques for the CEO and senior management and entire industries got wiped out.

Problem Definition, Option 2 – Reduce healthcare costs and issue health  dividends: Let’s target to reduce the base healthcare spending to $4000 per person per year. This will bring spending to the 1980 level with inflation factored. The remaining funds, $4946 per capita ($8946 –$ 4000), be given as a health dividend to the population and providers. This will go to both the population as a tax credit and to providers as an incentive to keep those that they care for healthy. This will not reduce health care spending, have no impact on the GDP, but will certainly improve the health of our biggest producers and consumers in the economy.

There is proof that this model could work to reduce overall cost and improve population health if both the population and providers are incented appropriately. Recently, I had an argument with my General Practitioner’s (GP) secretary who wanted me to come to the office three times for the following:

1)     to receive the results of my blood test,

2)     to have an annual physical check-up,

3)     to remove  couple of annoying skin tags.

Each procedure was no more than 2 to 7 minutes long, they insisted that it have to be three separate appointments. A total of 10 minutes of consult for three procedures with my GP would have cost me an additional 7 hours in my productivity loss (2.0 hours to drive, 0.5 hour wait and 1.0 hour productivity loss due to distractions of the appointments). A reason for this behaviour is that the way physicians are incented; they are able to bill the system more based on the number of visits alone. Not based on what is good for both the patient and provider.

Therefore, I will define the problem this way: reduce the cost of base care to $4000 per capita and incent both the population and provider to stay and keep their customers healthy. Let the innovation begin. There is no shortage of very smart architects, engineers  and very motivated providers who want to live to their oath of “do no harm”.

Call to Action:

  • To help develop next generation healthcare delivery organization – we need the help of healthcare Zuckerbergs, Steve Jobs, Pierre Omidyar, Jeffrey P. Bezos; people who can think outside the box and bypass the current entitled establishment for the better.
  • We are taking first step to define an alternative architecture – join us in Philadelphia on July 16th for a one-day active workshop.
  • Website: http://www.opengroup.org/philadelphia2013
  • Program Outline: http://www.opengroup.org/events/timetable/1548
    • Tuesday: Healthcare Transformation
    • Keynote Speaker: Dr David Nash, Dean of Population Health Jefferson University
    • Reactors Panel: Hear from other experts on what is possible
    • Workshops
      • Be part of organized workshops and learn from your fellow providers and enterprise architects on how to transform healthcare for the next generation
      • This is your trip to the Gemba

uppalJason Uppal, P.Eng. is the Chief Architect at QRS and was the first Master IT Architect certified by The Open Group, by direct review, in October 2005. He is now a Distinguished Chief Architect in the Open CA program. He holds an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering, graduate degree in Economics and a post graduate diploma in Computer Science. Jason’s commitment to Enterprise Architecture Life Cycle (EALC) has led him to focus on training (TOGAF®), education (UOIT) and mentoring services to his clients as well as being the responsible individual for both Architecture and Portfolio & Project Management for a number of major projects.

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Filed under Enterprise Architecture, Healthcare, Open CA